So you have an idea for a blog but you have no idea what to do next? Well, you’ve come to the right place. Starting a blog can be confusing and intimidating but have no fear, I am here to help!
How To Start A Blog
Choose A Domain Name
Did I already lose you? Your domain name is the web address that people will type into their browser to find your blog. My domain name is www.herehappyandhungry.com. I found a great great site, BustAName, where you can play around with different keywords to see if your domain is available. BustAName makes life really easy too because you can simply purchase your domain through their website once you find the domain that you love the most.
I highly recommend taking your time while choosing your perfect domain and do your research on a site such as BustAName. Are there any other websites that have similar names? If someone misspells one word of your domain will they end up on someone else’s website?
Find A Platform
Now you’re asking yourself “what the heck is a platform?” A platform is the service or software that you use to publish your blog.
A few of the most popular blogging platforms are: WordPress.com, WordPress.org and Blogger.com.
When I first started my blog I decided to use WordPress.org and I have stayed with this platform. To me, WordPress.org has been very user friendly and I found it is easy to get help if needed. I also like the fact that my blog is self-hosted which provides me with a lot of freedom with the look and content of my blog. This option, however, is not free as you’ll have to purchase your domain (a yearly fee) and pay a monthly hosting fee. -Don’t worry, I will discuss hosting in a minute.
WordPress.com means that your website is hosted by WordPress. This option is perfect for the blogger who is not interested in spending upfront money as WordPress.com is free and easy to set up. A huge downside to using WordPress.com is that your domain will show up as yourblog.wordpress.com (unless you buy your domain).
Blogger.com means that your website is hosted by Google. Since Blogger runs this hosting service they can shut down your blog at anytime and if Google is having technical issues then your website may be affected as well. Blogger is free and your domain will contain blogger.com unless you buy your domain as well.
Pick A Host Website
At this point if you have decided to use Blogger.com or WordPress.com as your blogging platform then you are ready to go and may stop reading now! But, if you decided to use a self-hosted blogging platform such as WordPress.org (like I did) then you now must decide who will host host your website.
A host website is the site that will provide your blog space on the internet. Web hosting companies “rent out” their servers to store your website. This is important to know because if your host has problems then you will have problems too (think: speed, connectivity, accessibility).
Bluehost has served as a great host website for my blog. Hosting requires an up front payment because you are prepaying for 36 months so Bluehost to host your website, however, if you are ever unsatisfied with Bluehost they will pay you back any unused months. That is how you know that they will help you with any issues!
Choose an Eye Catching Theme
Let’s put aside all of the tech lingo for a minute and talk about something that we all love, themes! Your theme is literally the first thing that anyone will see when they visit your website so it is important to put some thought into your theme.
Purchasing my theme from Restored 316 was an easy decision for multiple reasons:
- All of Restored 316 themes are fully customizable. If I don’t like a specific color then I can change it. If I don’t like the placement of a plugin, I can change it. You get the idea, right?
- There is an option to add eCommerce code to your blog. This is huge! Most themes don’t have this option or the option can be added for an extra cost. I don’t currently sell anything on my blog but that could change and Restored 316 will make that change extremely easy for me.
- The customer service is on point! I have emailed Restored 316‘s support 59,445,381 times and every time I get back an answer that actually HELPS me. I cannot stand getting emails back that don’t answer my initial question. Restored 316 does not want to waste my time or theirs.
- Hello, have you seen their themes? They are all SO beautiful! A few of my Restored 316 themes are: Tickled Pink, Bloom and Faithful.
Begin Personalizing Your Blog
So you’ve picked your perfect domain, the perfect platform, the perfect host website and the perfect theme. Now it is time to personalize your blog with plugins! What are plugins you ask? Plugins are ways to extend, customize and add to the functionality of your blog.
A few of the most popular plugins that I use are:
Jetpack– simplifies managing WordPress sites by giving you visitor stats, security services, speeding up images, and helping you get more traffic
Akismet– checks your comments against the Akismet Web service to see if they look like spam or not and lets you review the spam it catches under your blog’s “Comments” admin screen
Yoast SEO– created to improve your site’s SEO on all needed aspects and forces you to choose a focus keyword when you’re writing your articles, and then makes sure you use that focus keyword everywhere
Create Your Social Media Accounts
We are in the age of social media everything so it is important that you have social media accounts that will help grow your blog. I have a Facebook , an Instagram and a Pintrest for my blog. These pages are crucial in growing my blog reads, subscribers and followers.
Beautifully taken and crisp photos are EXTREMELY important. Think about the pictures that you scroll through on Instagram and “like”. Odds are that those photos are bright, beautifully lit and have meaning or character. These are the types of photos that you should be posting as well!
Please feel free to ask any questions in the comments section!
until next time,